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10 Online Financial Calculators You Never Knew That Could Make Your Life Easier

10 Online Financial Calculators You Never Knew That Could Make Your Life Easier

We make hundreds of financial decisions every day. Most are simple — do you want fries with that? — but some decisions can be quite complex. As you approach different phases of life, you may find yourself asking these questions, in need of guidance. There are a great many resources available online but I’ve highlighted my favorite 10 online financial calculators to make your life easier:

Should I Buy Or Lease?

The number of cars purchased by 18- to 34-year-olds fell nearly 30 percent from 2007 to 2011. This trend has continued with the rapid adoption of services like ZipCar so the importance of getting a good deal is more important than ever before. Use this calculator to weigh your options and make the best decision.

1 - Should I Buy Or Lease?

      (http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanLeaseCalc.jsp?mode=full)

    How Much House Can I Afford?

    Likely the most significant purchase you’ll ever make, buying a home can be daunting. Give this calculator a workout in the early stages of your home search to ensure you factor in all expenses and land on a house budget that won’t leave you over extended.

    2 - How Much House Can I Afford?

        (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/new-house-calculator.aspx)

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      When Will My Credit Card Be Paid Off?

      The average American household has more than $15,000 in credit card debt with average interest rates hovering around 17%. Wherever you fall in the spectrum, it’s critically important to develop a debt payoff plan and take a hard look at your credit card balances first. This powerful, easy to use tool allows you to input all your credit card balance and rate information to experiment with multiple pay down plans.

      3 - When Will My Credit Card Be Paid Off?

        (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/debt-free/)

        How Close Am I To My Savings Goal?

        The power of setting goals cannot be overstated. The power of achieving those goals and raising the bar works wonders for your confidence. Financial goals are no different and this thorough calculator will keep you on track.

        4 - How CLose Am I To My Savings Goal?

            (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/savings-goal-calculator-tool.aspx)

          What Happens If I Become Disabled?

          I’ve outlined before (

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          http://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/8-crucial-financial-moves-make-your-30s.html) your most valuable asset is your future earnings potential. LifeHappens, a non-profit foundation for education, helps quantify the income protection you may be lacking with this tool. 5 - What Happens If I Become Disabled?

              (http://www.lifehappens.org/insurance-overview/disability-insurance/calculate-your-needs/)

            Am I Saving Enough For Retirement?

            The age-old question: how much do I need? After consulting your financial planner for a retirement analysis, plug your current retirement savings plan into this robust calculator and adjust as needed. Remember, you need to actually MAKE any desired savings plan changes!

            6 - Am I Saving Enough For Retirement?

                (http://www.bloomberg.com/personal-finance/calculators/retirement/)

              Will I Be Able To Afford College For The Kids?

              Admittedly, paying for your kids’ college can seem like a fantasy. The earlier you start saving, and saving intelligently, the more likely you are to reach your goal. My Father paid every penny of college tuition for me and my two brothers — hands down, there’s no greater gift. The College Board provides this analysis which considers very important factors like inflation and time horizon.

              7 - Will I Be Able To Afford College For The Kids?

                  (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-calculator)

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                How Soon Until I Pay Off The Mortgage?

                Many online and TV pundits advocate for debt free living which, for most people, means eliminating the mortgage as your most significant liability. Whether you subscribe to this ideal or you simply want to accelerate payments, this tool will help shape your payoff plan. Keep in mind, if you have a “sweetheart” mortgage interest rate, you may be better off allocating your accelerated payments elsewhere.

                8 - How Soon Until I Pay Off The Mortgage?

                    (http://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/mortgage_payoff_calculator/)

                  What Will It Cost to Care For My Elders?

                  It’s no secret the cost of medical care is on the rise. Some industry estimates peg the cost of a private nursing home room to double over the next 15 years. Hopefully your parents and grandparents have made ample arrangements to pay for these expenses. This calculator will help you evaluate the current and projected costs in your area. Don’t know if Mom and Dad are covered? The financial burden may fall on your shoulders so ask them!

                  9 - What Will It Cost To Care For My Elders?

                      (http://www.johnhancockinsurance.com/long-term-care/cost-of-long-term-care-calculator/index.html        

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                    10.  How Long Will I Live?

                    I can’t direct you to the fountain of youth but I can steer you towards this simple exercise the bright Ivy League minds at The Wharton School created. Certainly, it’s not perfect but it will give you an idea of life expectancy so you can plan for an adequate retirement, debt management, life insurance funding, legacy planning and a slew of other important financial decisions.

                    10 - How Long Will I Live?

                        (http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html)

                      Albert Camus famously mused “Life is the sum of all your choices.” Making sound financial decisions is paramount to living the life of your dreams and no one can make sensible choices without knowledge and understanding. Use these calculators to identify the impact of significant life events and take control of your finances.

                      Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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                      Last Updated on March 4, 2019

                      How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                      How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                      Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

                      I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

                      Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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                      Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

                      Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

                      Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

                      I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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                      I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

                      If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

                      Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

                      The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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                      Using Credit Cards with Rewards

                      Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

                      You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

                      I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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                      So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

                      What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

                      Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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